Discussion

Bisexual Representation in Books

Though it is obvious that LGBT+ representation has been on the rise across different types of media in the last couple of years, there’s still a long way to go. Traditionally the focus has been put on gay men, leaving any other identity outside of this diversification of content. There is also the issue of under-representation (little to no lesbian and trans inclusivity in mainstream stories) and misrepresentation (ie. bisexual people being presented as promiscuous). Not to mention the absolute lack of representation of other identities.

However, despite all of this, there are still some books that have taken on the mission of portraying these characters. Since my personal soft-spot is for bi rep, here is a (definitely not extensive) list of bisexual, or in some cases pansexual, characters who, in my opinion, deserve some love. Although I don’t claim these to be perfect representation by any means, they are the ones that have had an impact on me and have stayed close to my heart for years. Also, it’s worth mentioning that I don’t consider sexuality to be a spoiler, but some of the characters on the list don’t necessarily label themselves until later on in the book/series they’re in.

*Note that not all these characters have necessarily labelled themselves as bi or pan, but all have been coded as such*

Middle grade

This is not my particular area of expertise, but like any other 90s/00s kids, I was brought up on Percy Jackson, and by extension have developed a deep love for anything Rick Riordan has written. So here’s two of his bi/pan characters:

©viria

Magnus Chase

from Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard

I have just been kissed by a dude. How do I feel about that?

The rest of my brain answered: I have just been kissed by Alex Fierro. I am absolutely great with that.

-The Ship of the Dead, Rick Riordan

Apollo

from The Trials of Apollo

We gods are not hung up about such things. I myself have had… let’s see, thirty-three mortal girlfriends and eleven mortal boyfriends? I’ve lost count.

-The Hidden Oracle, Rick Riordan
©viria

Young Adult

Here is where the list gets pretty long. I have found that young adult fiction is probably the sub-section of literature that in the last years has expanded more in terms of representation.

Let’s start with all of Cassandra Clare’s bisexual characters, who admittedly have had the most impact on me since I read about (most of) them in my teenage years.

Magnus Bane

from The Mortal Instruments, The Infernal Devices, The Dark Artifices, The Last Hours, and The Eldest Curses

“I think of myself as a freewheeling bisexual.”

-City of Lost Souls, Cassandra Clare

Helen Blackthorn

from The Dark Artifices and The Eldest Curses

“It’s not a secret that I like girls as well as boys.”

-The Red Scrolls of Magic, Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu

Mark Blackthorn

from The Dark Artifices

“I do,” he said quizzically. “Like girls.”

“Oh,” she said. “You’re bisexual?”

“Last time I checked, that’s what you call it.”

-Lady Midnight, Cassandra Clare

Kieran

from The Dark Artifices

“You know what I want,” Kieran said. “I was the one to say it first. I love and desire you both.”

-Queen of Air and Darkness, Cassandra Clare

Kit Herondale

from The Dark Artifices and The Wicked Powers (to be released)

Kit’s list of grievances against the Shadowhunters had now gotten long enough that he’d started writing it down. Stupid hot people, he’d written, won’t let me go home and get my stuff.

-Lord of Shadows, Cassandra Clare

Matthew Fairchild

from The Last Hours

“The green carnation symbolizes a love of art and artifice […] It also celebrates loving anyone you choose, whether that is a man or a woman.”

-Chain of Gold, Cassandra Clare

I know Cassandra Clare books are not for everyone, and the sheer amount of them is daunting to anyone wanting to jump into the world of Shadowhunters. So, here are some other YA books with great bisexual rep.

Jesper Fahey

from Six of Crows

“If only you could talk to girls in equations.”

[…] “Just girls?”

[…] “No. Not just girls.”

-Six of Crows, Leigh Bardugo

Nina Zenik

from Six of Crows

“[Fjerdan girls] don’t engage in flirtations with every single man they meet.”

“I flirt with the women too.”

-Crooked Kingdom, Leigh Bardugo

Adam Parrish

from The Raven Cycle and The Dreamer Trilogy

He knew that Ronan was not a thing to be experimented with. He knew his mouth still felt warm.

-The Raven King, Maggie Stiefvater

Henry “Monty” Montague

from Montague Siblings

“I’m also rather attracted to all the men I kiss. And the ladies as well.”

-The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue, Mackenzi Lee

Levi Glaisyer

from The Shadow Game

Levi had a long romantic history of scattered affairs—a few girls and many boys—that had become the subject of teasing from his friends.

-Ace of Shades, Amanda Foody

Adult

Finally, this will be short and to the point for two reasons: 1) I’ve just recently started being interested in adult fiction and 2) I find it hard to find stories with LGBT+ representation that I’m interested in.

Alex Claremont-Díaz

from Red, White & Royal Blue

“So, I’ve realized I’m not straight. I’m actually bisexual.”

-Red, White & Royal Blue, Casey McQuiston

Evelyn Hugo

from The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo

“I’m bisexual. Don’t ignore half of me so you can fit me into a box.”

-The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkins Reid

Dani Brown

from Take a Hint, Dani Brown

“I’m bisexual.”

“Got it.”

-Take a Hint, Dani Brown, Talia Hibbert

This is just a short recollection of bisexual characters from some of my favourite full-length novels. If you are interested in it, I can definitely put together a similar list focused on graphic novels and comics. Or, I could also make a more extensive list of all bisexual characters I’ve encountered in my time as a reader, whatever my opinion of the books as a whole might be.

Do you perhaps recognise any of your favourite characters in this list? What is the type of representation that you passionately care about?

30 thoughts on “Bisexual Representation in Books

  1. Amazing post! I agree, there’s not nearly enough bi rep in books. More often it’s gay or lesbian, which is also great, but bisexuals don’t get nearly as much representation.
    And I haven’t started Cassandra Clare’s books (the number of them is a bit daunting) but I really want to! It’s nice to see she has good LGBTQ+ rep. Great post and I just followed!

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    1. That’s why I’ve made it my mission to look for these characters!
      I totally understand that the amount of books is intimidating, and they’re definitely not for everyone, but personally they’ve been a great source of happiness (and they progressively have gotten more inclusive, which is fantastic!)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Awesome post! The one other character that jumped in my head is Enrique from Gilded Wolves by Roshani Chokshi, don’t know if you’ve read it, but I think he’s bi or pan?

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  3. Awesome post! I totally agree with you, there needs to be more LGBTQIAP+ rep that is more than just gay men…it’s definitely getting better in recent years, but there’s still a long way to go, especially, in my opinion, with aro/ace and aro/ace spec rep.
    I actually had no idea how many LGBTQ+ characters were in the Cassandra Clare books, I haven’t read them so I just didn’t know! I absolutely love the Magnus Chase books and yess haha that was one of my favorite parts. Jesper and Nina, too!!! Love them. And I’ve been wanting to read Evelyn Hugo but I just haven’t gotten around to it–it sounds super good though!

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    1. I completely agree, aro/ace spec rep is very hard to find (only Loveless by Alice Oseman comes to mind right now) especially in mainstream and hyped books. It seems that this kind of representation only exists within the indie side of the community, and that shouldn’t be the norm.
      Cassandra Clare has lots of LGBT+ rep and has definitely been progressively diversifying more and more over the years!
      Evelyn Hugo is definitely worth the read, I wasn’t expecting to love it so much and it ended up being one of my new favourites!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes, I did read Loveless and it was awesome! A few others are the second book of The Gentleman’s Guide (it’s about Monty’s younger sister, Felicity, who is aroace), Tarnished Are the Stars by Rosiee Thor and a few others which I as well cannot remember right now.
        I cannot wait to read Evelyn Hugo, I’m glad you enjoyed it so much because it’s been on my radar for a while!

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    1. Yes, she has lots of LGBT`+ rep but the number of books seems to be a common issue for new readers hahaha. But yeah, I totally get it, I’ve just been reading them as they were being published for the past 10 years (wow) but I don’t know what I would do if I had to start reading them now

      Liked by 1 person

  4. ahh yes!! i wish we could see more bisexual rep in books – especially when the characters are described as bisexual – and not just gay, or lesbian!! another book i just read (it’s a YA contemporary), with great bisexual rep is perfect on paper by sophie gonzales!! i really loved it, so if you try it out, i hope you enjoy it too 💓💓

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  5. So many favorite characters of mine in this list ❤ bi rep is super important to me and i was just randomly thinking about characters that meant a lot to me in this sense and the first who came to mind that's not on your list is Elliot from In Other Lands by Sarah Rees Brennan. I love the whole book and especially the way Elliot comes into his sexuality is so wholesome!

    While I always try to read queer in general, I've been trying to read more books with aro and/or ace characters as well, and i also deeply care about neurodivergent and specifically ADHD rep, especially when they intersect with queerness! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve actually never read a Sarah Rees Brennan book, although they’ve always been on my radar. The way you talked about that character is definitely enough to make me want to pick it up.

      I’m also interested in it, and hopefully I’ll have the opportunity to read more about it. I feel like the conversation around books has finally broadened and we’re seeing more diversity. But there’s still a long way to go!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Definitely a long way to go especially when it comes to traditional publishing, although the books already are there when one looks more into indie publishing, which is miles ahead in my opinion (still, there’s always room for it to do better) 💕

        and i hope you enjoy it if you pick up In Other Lands!!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. Love the list you have here. It can get frustrating when there’s bi-erasure just because characters are in a certain relationship (for example, f/m). Definitely need more bisexual representation in the media. Great post! 💕

    Liked by 1 person

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